Peru Cancels First 2023 Anchovy Season – Highlights Need for Diversifying Omega-3 Supply Chains
The anchovy boats are docked in Lima, Peru. This time of year, thousands of fishers are typically out to sea to bring in the semi-annual anchovy catch.
Since May, Peru’s government has been sending warning signs that the first anchovy season of the year was in trouble. The industry has been watching the country closely, as the country’s waters supply 20% of the global omega-3 oil, and any supply chain shortages would result in an increase in omega-3 oil prices to the aquaculture and human nutrition industries.
The omega-3 industry has grown sensitive to disruptions in global supply chains. Ever-increasing demand, combined with climate change and more frequent and powerful El Niño conditions, threaten the stability of the industry’s supply chain. Consumer demand and the rapidly growing aquaculture industry just as consumers’ interest in products derived from marine resources is on the rise.
After the initial warning signs that the anchovy season was under threat, the first real domino fell on June 2nd, when the Peruvian government authorized a 1.09 million metric ton anchovy quota for the first season, a reduction of 60% versus the quota of 2.792 million metric tons for 2022’s first anchovy season.
But analyses of scientific survey fishing conducted in May found that the condition of the anchovy population was even worse than had been feared. Most anchovies in the area were small, with many of them being juveniles.
This led authorities—who believe this disruption in the anchovy population is the consequence of El Niño-related conditions—to announce the outright cancellation of the first anchovy season. In announcing the decision to cancel the season, Peru’s Minister of Production Raul Perez Reyes stated, “The sea conditions are not given for the start of the fishing season. A critical issue for the ministry is the preservation of fishing resources. If we left at this time and allowed the anchovy fishing activity to develop, what we would do is deplete the resource.”
While it is rare for Peru to cancel anchovy harvests, it isn’t unknown. The last such cancellation was in 2014, due to disruptive weather caused by that year’s El Niño.
Peru has two anchovy seasons, the second occurring in October to December. It remains to be seen how the second anchovy season may be impacted.
The cancellation of Peru’s first anchovy season underscores the need for diversified, reliable sources of omega-3 oil. The public is invested in—and investing in—essential nutrition as they never have before, and whoever can work around supply chain shortages and meet public demand will be rewarded for their efforts.
Innovators at the leading edge of research and development are creating new sources of omega-3 oils that can soften the impact of tough decisions, like that made by the Peruvian government to ensure the future stability and availability of anchovy populations.
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We don’t know when the Peruvian anchovy fishers will be allowed back to sea, but we do know demand for omega-3 oil is outpacing marine resources renewable levels. Nuseed Omega-3 Canola oil is an essential means of preventing an omega-3 supply crisis and supporting a sustainable fishing industry too.